The Accidental President of Brazil: A Memoirby Fernando Henrique Cardoso
Fernando Henrique Cardoso received a phone call in the middle of the night asking him to be the new Finance Minister of Brazil. As he put the phone down and stared into the darkness of his hotel room, he feared he'd been handed a political death sentence. The year was 1993, and he would be responsible for an economy that had had seven different currencies in the previous eight years to cope with inflation that had run at 3000 percent a year. Brazil had a habit of chewing up finance ministers with the ferocity of an Amazon piranha.
This was just one of the turns in a largely unscripted and sometimes unwanted political career. In exile during the harshest period of the junta that ruled Brazil for twenty years, Cardoso started his political life with a tentative run for the Federal Senate in 1978. Within fifteen years, and despite himself, this former sociologist was running the country.
And what a country! Brazil, it is often said, is on the edge of modernity, striding with one foot in mid-air towards the future, the other still rooted deep in a traditional past. It is a land of sophisticated music and brutal gold-digging, of the next global superpower and the last old-time coffee plantations. It is gloriously ungovernable, irrepressibly attractive, and home to the family, friends and extraordinary life of Fernando Henrique Cardoso. This is his story and his love song to his country.
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Meet the Author
Fernando Henrique Cardoso was President of the Federative Republic of Brazil for two consecutive terms, from January 1995 to December 2002. Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1931, he is married, with three children, and lives in São Paulo.
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The book by Fernado Henrique was a wonderful read. He has a very appealing style in his writing and it absorbs the reader even during times of what can seem like boring information. Fernando Henrique did a wondderful job of telling the story behind Brazil's history and politics, especially the policies and problems that have plagued each adminsitration over their brief history. He wasn't afraid to criticize himself and offered a lot of valuable opinions about the current state and future of this gov't. Being married to a brazilian gave me ensight to the opinions of the citizens during his time of presidency. It was a very unstable time and most brazilians were very skeptical of anohter politician making promises that would go unfilled. He managed to implement another currency change that actually worked and he insituted some much need changes in the way gov't operated. Not enough has been done to address the education problem, nor the overunning favelahs. Fernando Henrique offered an excellent opinion on the favalehs and their root causes, but he didn't do enough as president to fix them. He cannot bear that blame alone since this has plagued Brazil for decades. Unlike Lula, he took his share of the blame and didn't pass it onto other people as the problem. I have now begun reading about Dom Pedro II, the first brazilian born emporer after reading Fernado Henriques explanation of its early form of gov't.